Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sweat Shops and A Labor Union

By now we've all seen the cover of the book, "What to Expect When You're Expecting," right?

If you haven't, the cover features a young lady, in a rocking chair, a serene look on her face...It implies that she is expecting her labor to go a smoothly as her last 8 months...and that a Norman Rockwell scene will play out something like this...

"Ooh. Honey, my water just broke!" Yippee!

The young husband grabs the overnight bag that has been packed for weeks, they calmly get into the car and drive to the hospital, where she diligently practices her breathing. The husband holds her hand and wipes her brow, encouraging her lovingly...


Let's just say that I didn't even come close to this.

Here is the story of the magnificent day that Tyler was born.


He was due in September. Of course that meant the last three months of being monstrously preggers would be spent in the hottest months of the year. Typical me.

Here's something you should also know:

I was a terrible pregnant person.

I was uncomfortable from day one.

I gained about 60 pounds each time.

My nose even gained weight.

I would snap at people who told me I was "aglow" by saying, "I am NOT glowing. I AM SWEATING BULLETS."

I craved beef any way I could get it. I was exhausted. I wore the same huge t-shirt for 7 months straight. I was lovely.

So it suffices to say that I did NOT reflect the cover of that book. Not the first time. Not the second time. Not the third.

But I will say that I felt like an expert on labor and delivery by the time it was time to think about having Tyler. The difference was that I was going to have a C-Section. Quite frankly, it sounded Heavenly, and the procedure was scheduled for mid-September.

In July, like with Nick and Mackenzie, I went into early labor. What most women call, "Braxton-Hicks," were full-on contractions that sent me to the hospital each time.

Labor again stopped, and "bed-rest" prescribed, I was ordered to weekly Doctor visits until he was due.

The sweaty, fat, carnivorous beast that was me would be forced full-time on my loved ones for a few more months. (Still sorry, guys).

So it was a HOTHOTHOT day in early August that while in the waiting room at the doctors office, I felt the twingy, twangy, crampiness that I had been feeling for a couple of days.

"Kristen?" The cheerful, skinny, impossibly cute nurse called.

"Right here." I chugged and pushed my massive self off of the chair, sweating like a prize fighter.

I scuffed behind her and just as I was being asked to "Please, step on the scale..." I felt it.



"Are you okay?" She asked as she slid that effing weight down a few more notches.

"Perfect." I growled. "Loving this."

She led me into the room, where a dear friend poked her head in.

"You Okay?"


"The nurse said you were uncomfortable."


The doctor came in finally.

"How are we today."

(Don't you know I wanted to say..."WE are freaking on the cusp of breaking 200 pounds! WE are so fat that WE cannot fit behind the steering wheel! WE are keeping Tums and Maalox in business because WE are chowing Steak Bombs at 7am!")

I didn't say that. Of course.


"Hmmmm. Do you think I should check?"

Now, I am not going to go into graphic detail about what it means to be "checked." Let's just say, if it is presented as an option, I would advise to go with "No."


"Kristen, the nurses said you were showing signs of..."



"Please go ahead and lie back for me."


"Well, Kristen," she said happily, snapping off the gloves. "I hope you don't have any plans today."

"Actually, I am going to Auburn to pick up a dresser." I tried to sound nonchalant.

"You can either go home and rest for a while, or you can go right to the hospital. You are about 4 centime..."


Now, the "expert" should have remembered that in both of my previous labors, it started slow, but sped up reeeeeeeaallllly fast.

"I really feel okay. I think I'll go home and call my husband. He's working in Augusta."

So with a bit of reluctance, she agreed, and said on my way out, "see you later!" She's a funny one.

The doctors office was just about 6 miles from my house. I really didn't think there would be a problem. I had instructions to call the scheduled doctor, and head in when I felt too uncomfortable.

I had no sooner turned from the parking lot when another contraction gripped me.

Cuss words, baby. Cuss words.

By the time I was half-way home, I couldn't even breathe. I'm pretty sure I took the turn into my driveway on two wheels going about 65 miles per hour.

"Oh, My GOD!" Thankfully, my mom was watching the kids.

"Mom. I have got to go NOOOOOOOWWWWW!"


"Holy expletiveexpletiveexpletive!"

"I can't drive! You have to stay with the kids! Chris is in Augusta!(a good 45 minutes away, even for a cop)...

"I'll call your Dad!"


So in moments MY FATHER comes bombing up the driveway. There was no time for a bag, or hugs goodbye. Just screaming in between contractions to call the hospital and Chris and to pray that we made it.

Here's the thing about that Norman Rockwell image: You hear about things going smoothly. You hear about husbands delivering babies in the back seats of cars in the middle of the night. I can honestly say, that AS MUCH as I adore my Dad, the thought of him having to deliver my kid in the back seat of his (relatively, sorry, Dad),beat up Jimmy was really not appealing.

"I'm not going to maaaaaaakeit!!!!!"

Now, not to embarass anyone, but those of you who REALLY know my Dad know that he is a sweat-er. Yeah, thats right. In any given situation, weather condition, red-pepper overloaded, cajun spice covered whatever, my dad sweats bullets. I think its what keeps him sane.

He was dripping, white knuckling that steering wheel. I'm not sure how fast he was going, but I can assure you that he did not want to deliver his grandson in the backseat of his Jimmy, either.

"Just hold on. Jesus Christ, hold on!"

We bombed down the road, Dukes-Of-Hazzard style, and I am pretty sure we were airborn when we arrived in the parking lot of Franklin Memorial.

I think I got into a wheelchair by myself and went right past the greeters.

"Labor?" The asked in unison.

"You think?" I snorted, taking advantage of the last moments I could behave like that and get away with it.

The next thing I remember was being strapped into the monitor, the contraction thingy registering volcanic activity and sending the blips into a screaming, flashing, blur.

I was yelling at my Dad.

He was yelling at the Doctor.


My poor Dad was soaked. I had a death grip on his arm. He couldn't go anywhere.

"Dis bebe ees comeeeng now." This particular doctor has a thick French accent. "What ah you go-eeeng to du?"

"I am supposed to have a c-section!" I managed.

"The father is in Augusta." Dad explained. The contraction machine was on overload. I think it started smoking. I think I also saw smoke steaming from my dad's ears.

"There is no time to wait." The doctor frenched. "If you are going to have c-section, we need to go." He said as he put on a glove.


He was going to ""

Not with my Dad beside me. No Way. It had been traumatic enough already. I was pretty sure that would be a bit too much for Don to take.


After that, I remember seeing him as they wheeled me into "PREP."

I remember seeing smiling people hovering over me. I remember a frantic nurse go past. Hurried whispers. Doors opening and closing.

Where was my HUSBAND? Would he make it in time?

Epidural. Sweet Epidural. All was well.

I felt flippin' fine, as my husband walked into the operating room and sat down behind me.

"They wouldn't let me in with my gun."

"Huh?" I replied dreamily. Forgetting that he came right from work, and well, cops are required to carry a weapon.

He was sweating, too. Lots of perspiration, that day.

The nurses and doctors worked around me, my husband watched. Gross. But, pain free. Fabulous.

Tyler was here.

Now, there is more to this story, but I don't have the time now, and, really, it's not at all funny.

But that day I was reminded just how far a Dad will go to take care of his daughter. And how lucky I am to live so close to my wonderful family. Tyler and my Dad have a special bond, one that some day will be explained by this story told to Tyler, and his un-book-cover-like entry to this world.

If I haven't said it before, Thanks, Dad and Mom.

Thanks, Dr. Bellaire. (You ees truuly de beest).

Thanks, Nurse Manager Who Finally Let My Husband In.

Thanks, Nurses and Doctors who had to check me and weigh me for 7 months.

And, Sorry, Greeters. I was in a bit of a hurry that day.

I'll never be a poster gal for pre-natal stuff, but I make a darn good mom.


I recently torched my copy of the book.

Thanks For Reading.

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